07 August 2006

An incredible sadness in North Dakota: Drilling for Black Gold. Drilling for black gold just over 400 feet from my idyllic childhood home.

It makes me incredibly sad to think of all the wonderful qualities of my childhood home that are lost as a result of the placement of this oil well. I feel like the thousands of hours that my parents, my two brothers and I spent over the years working on the farm (building shelter belts, restoring barns and outbuildings, fixing fences, planting gardens, eradicating leafy spurge, etc.,) are lost. All the time and hard work we put into building a beautiful, peaceful country home is lost.

The recent oil boom has been an incredible boost to our local economy; something I am glad for (even though I'd much rather see the state developing our wind energy resources). The terrible part of this story is that big business oil is being pitted against, and favored over, our state's other great resources: small family farms, open spaces, and high quality of life. The last thing the prairie needs is yet another abandoned farm house.

It's hard to deny that small-scale farming and ranching has become more of a way of life than a way to earn a living. A way of life that North Dakotans are fiercely proud of. As we continue to develop our oil resources I ask that we not sacrifice these farms and the quality of life that makes these rural communities strong. With proper legislation surely we can find a way for oil development and the small wonders of country life to co-exist peacefully.